Nine Rangitāne kapa haka will be competing at the Tangata Rau regionals this coming Saturday. The top three teams will have the honour of representing their iwi at Te Matatini 2021.
Newcomers Te Ringa Kaha from Tamaki-nui-a-Rua (Dannevirke) will be competing for the first time this week. Wharemako Paewai explained their connection to Rangitāne is below.
“Ruahine is the mountain.
“Pokere-o-Tamakuku is the river.
“Kurahaupo is the waka.
“Whātonga is the ancestor.
“Rangitane is the people and Rangiwhakaewa is the connecting clan.”
Paewai explains that Te Ringa Kaha’s main purpose is to transmit their history, stories and genealogy. Their second purpose is to strengthen the Rangitānetanga, their identity in the region and to uplift local Māori. Paewai felt that kapa haka was the ideal forum to unite them as one.
Several Te Ringa Kaha members introduced themselves to Te Ao Māori News:
“My name is Wharemako Paewai, I affiliate to the people of Ngāti Mutuahi, Ngāti Pakapaka, Ngāti Parakiore and Ngāti Te Rangiwhakaewa.”
“My name is Zenna-Maria Gatonyi Hepi-Te Huia, my connection to this team is through my children and my spouse. I'm from Tūwharetoa and Ngāi Tahu.”
“My name is Aroha Ripeka Kingi. I am a descendant of Rangitāne and Te Rangiwhakawea. I belong to the Paewai family.”
Paewai explained why they chose the name Te Ringa Kaha.
“It comes from a time when our ancestors explored the land. It was our ancestor Turake who positioned his four nephews within four key areas of Tāmaki-nui-a-Rua to stake a claim on the Tāmaki-nui-a-Rua territory.
The roles of the sons of Turake, is explained by Paewai below.
“Koronga Whenua was sent to Te Waha o Te Kuri, to Te Ahu a Tūranga.
“Rangitotohu was sent to Rākau Tātahi.
“Parakiore was sent to Paparataitoko.
“Matetapu/Whakawehi were sent to Te Hianaki o Matua Hakahaka
“Ngāti Hāmua guarded their region in Wairarapa.”
“These mark the four defensive lines of Tamaki-nui-a-Rua and Te Rangiwhakaewa, to restrict the access of armed forces into their territory of Te Tapernui-o-Whātonga.”
“So the name Te Ringa Kaha comes from this collective war party, so that we may revive the work of our ancestors.”
Paewai explains that:
“This is our first stand in the competitive kapa haka world.
“Some of us have represented other teams, this, however, is the long-awaited realisation of a dream for this area.
“We'll soon find out if we're ready or not!”
Hepi-Te Huia says, “It's a first for them, most are shearers, workers of the land, fencers, teachers, work of this nature."
“Some are from schools within the community, both our Kura Kaupapa and Mainstream schools.
Freezing workers, Shearers, Mothers, Kōhanga Reo teachers and most, if not all, are local,” Aroha Ripeka Kingi says.
Te Ringa Kaha is about remembering the past, addressing issues with the Crown over land, claims issues and keeping Whāngai Mokopuna narratives alive.
“It's gonna be my first time at the Rangitāne regionals. I'm excited but nervous at the same time,” Kingi says.
Paewai says, “Watch out for us! Tamaki-nui-a-Rua is ready and coming to Papaioea in force. See you all at the end of the week.”